Life can easily get in the way of our financial priorities.
A busy month can turn into two busy months. Soon we’ve ignored our budget for too long to continue to keep track of all of our purchases in our head. We stress about it. We talk about getting back on track. We have only good intentions, but it’s not enough.
Don’t worry! We all mess up. We all have times (days and months) where we stray from our financial path. But this doesn’t have to stop us from achieving our goals.
When you find yourself in a similar situation, one where you’ve reverted to (or created) a bad money habit, don’t beat yourself up or freak out and ignore the problem. Instead, take a deep breath, revisit priorities, revise your cash flow, and start again.
Relax! You’re not alone. You’re not an anomaly because you can’t follow a budget or can’t find time for your money – everybody does this!
The worst thing you can do is start to shut down. Begin to not care about your finances or your goals. Start to ignore, instead of fix, your habits.
Take a deep breath. Realize that you have control of your finances, they don’t control you. Now start taking the steps necessary to show your dominance over your money.
You wouldn’t be working toward your goals, if you hadn’t prioritized what was important in your life and in your finances. (If you really don’t have financial priorities, visit the first step of Exploit Your Finances.)
Revisit these priorities.
Do you still feel passionately about your original goals? Make sure you care enough about them that you can blame them, get back on track, and change your behavior. Remind yourself why you’re working so hard.
Maybe your priorities look different. Well, change them. Find ones that are more important. You may have slacked on your budget, because you weren’t craving the end result.
Revise Cash Flow
Depending on the outcome from revisiting your priorities, you may need to make some changes.
If your goals are the same, but your budget just doesn’t allow for flexibility in your daily life, make sure to consider this. A healthy financial life is about balancing fun now and balancing fun later. Without current happiness and enjoyment, you will not be able to achieve results in the long-run.
If your goals have changed, redo your cash flow to account for your new desires.
You may not need to make any changes to your monthly finances. You may have just needed the reminder of why you review your finances monthly. The “oh yeah” will be enough to jump-start your motivation.
Look at this as a fresh start.
Don’t look back and have regrets. There’s nothing you can do about your prior mistakes. Rather, take accountability of your next decisions.
You can do this! You can exploit your finances and exploit your life.
And, whenever you have a future indiscretion…deep breath, revisit priorities, revise cash flow, and start again.
How do you refocus and continue down your path toward exploiting life?